An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Four

east commerce street

Above, the intersection of Navarro and East Commerce Streets. John Stevens’ office building is mid-block on the left side of the street.

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Three

Andrew Stevens, March 1913

“Thought the prophecies of the Book of Revelation were coming true last night!” John hangs his hat and umbrella on the stand just inside the door of Mr. K’s office.

“My best hens,” responds Mr. K, “never laid an egg as large as those hailstones plummeting down from the heavens. Half the slate tiles from my roof lie splintered on the ground. Both greenhouses shattered. All their contents destroyed.”

“Your financial loss must be enormous,” remarks Andy. “I am so sorry, sir.”

“Approximately 5,000 dollars. But my mourning is not monetary. Insurance will replace the roof and the glass. But those rare specimens of orchids I collected and cultivated? Irreplaceable.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Four”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Three

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Two

Dr. Ferdinand Peter Herff, February 1913

Peter pauses on the front porch outside his office. Listening. Not eavesdropping per se. But taking pleasure in the sound of women’s laughter. 

His father is probably right. He concentrates on work at the expense of having a pleasant home life. Imagine the contentment. A wife to come home to every night. A companion with whom to share meals. To share thoughts. To share laughter. 

Maybe, in a year or two, his practice will be secure enough to afford the distractions of courtship. 

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Three”

Sisters like two peas in a pod: Perhaps they shared a wedding dress as well

agnes and william marmon

Above, William C. Marmon wed Agnes Zacharriah Autry in a double wedding ceremony in the Coker Church in 1899. Photograph courtesy of Virginia Heimer Ohlenbusch from Haunting the Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker Settlement

In the late 1800s, itinerant photographers wandered the Texas countryside, making a living talking hardworking farming families into the need to document their lives on their homesteads. The result was that neighbors often had their farmstead portraits taken during the same time period.

In Haunting the Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker Settlement, published by the Coker Cemetery Association in 2019, I organized the book by a combination of themes and timelines. This meant that I used most of the itinerant farm photos in a chapter describing the efforts of those making a living in the area of San Antonio known as Buttermilk Hill. But this also meant my favorite details in two of these remained unlinked in the book.

Continue reading “Sisters like two peas in a pod: Perhaps they shared a wedding dress as well”